Question: Is there a minimum size that a steering wheel in a vehicle has to be? I noticed a car that had a very small, aftermarket steering wheel and was curious what the law says about that. What about the law of having a steering wheel knob attached to the steering wheel?
Answer: There is no law specifically related to steering wheel size. The only issue would be if the mounting of the steering wheel is secure which could become an "unsafe equipment" violation. It would be unsafe to replace the original steering wheel with one without an airbag. Vehicle airbags are designed to work with the installed seatbelts to keep all the occupants safe in the event of a crash or rollover.
Steering wheel knobs are also not illegal in Minnesota. I believe this is one of those "car myths" that has spread, most likely because they have also been called "suicide knobs," which may have given a negative connotation causing people to assume they were illegal.
In fact, steering wheel knobs are prescribed to people with applicable disabilities to assist them in driving.
My concern with them is that they could interfere with the shuffle style or hand-to-hand type of steering input, and may cause a crash or loss of control.
My recommendation is to not alter or remove the original steering wheel, unless prescribed by a physician to aid the driver in controlling a vehicle due to a disability.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol, 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN, 55811; on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE; or by email at email@example.com.
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